Posts tagged journal
Posts tagged journal
I am twenty three. The trees this year are late in budding. There are so many twigs leaning in the wind. I do not always feel like the master of my life, though I do try to speak decidedly, and when I walk, it is with a sure heel. The spring is still new and the earth pulls away from the sidewalk. I tire easily, trying to grow, trying to bud, trying to reach again for the concrete path. I paint myself inexpertly with a wall of green at my back, and blossoms. An eye, imprecise, too large and too clear, this is how I’d like to be.
We begin again. We wake up to unjacketed mornings and we walk, through the long and short of it, until we arrive, hopefully not too tired for work. It is spring. It has been a long winter.
Can I start over? This is the question that unfurls itself whenever I look inward, raising its head, looking sadly up at me. It is spring and I want it to be gentle and good. I want to leave everything of my old life behind. I send out apologies into the wind and I hope they all arrive. I wish everyone a good and peaceful life, and I wish that for myself as well.
I have been weak in the past, but I hope it is not too late to be forgiven. I am here, ready to work, ready to be good. Under the coal dust inside of me there is light. There is earth beneath my hands. This is my forehead against the grass, whispering to the flowers, asking them to grow again for me. Please show me that I am worth it.
Please let me be. Let me cut away the dead branches and save what I can, give it some sun, whisper soothingly to it. I forgot that I am vulnerable, but now I know. This could be a beautiful life. I begin again.
Allow me to romanticize.
Bring me to the small Alberta towns (Stavely, maybe?) and sit with me in the quiet dark and eat the small-town Chinese food.
Chinese Cafés are immortal and gone away.
I am a Manitoban body, with ruddy skin red around the nose, hands that remember the earth, a tongue that recalls a Slavic language like an embrace imagined from old love stories.
But I have an Albertan soul.
So let’s go through the fields, out of Edmonton, beyond Red Deer, because I have spent too long longing for some ties to my distant Ukrainian roots, too long imagining another narrative.
There is an Albertan culture and I want to discover it for myself. I want to enter the prairie and sit, eat the Chinese, Japanese, Ukrainian food so that I might be.
I don’t mean to misappropriate. Tell me your history. My spirit was an immigrant too.
One of my favourites, and it feels like a good time to revisit it.
Making exciting literary connections - Michael Ondaatje suggests to Alice Van Wart the compilation of Elizabeth Smart’s writing on gardening. This is my heaven.
From “Elizabeth’s Garden: Elizabeth Smart on the Art of Gardening”, edited by Alice Van Wart.
Don’t go yet, you’ve left too much behind. You left the scent of your skin on the sheets, the phantom feeling of your fingertips on my hand. Twice already I’ve turned to speak to you without you being there. My eyes are searching for you around corners and behind doors and even though I know you won’t be there, I hope you will be. You’ve gone from my home for a little while, taking my heart with you and I long to hold you again for a little while longer, kiss you just ten more times, only twenty more times, whisper things, “I love you,” and, “please don’t go.”
Perhaps the saddest thing is that all of the things that stir inside me are unable to be transferred to you. For example, this song I’m listening to is not just a song, because inside the guitar and the timbre of her voice are whole memories, entire geographies and ages that don’t exist anywhere but within me. I could take you to these places and point and tell you that it was here that this happened, and this is where I felt this way, but the air was stranger then, the trees held different leaves. I was different. The buildings are unchanged, except maybe worn down in places unnoticed. The trees are growing older and taller. The squirrels run. And this is a whole world, it’s one of mine, and even if I try to share it with you, there will always be the gap between us, the place where we breathe in and out, and the parts of me that I want to share will only blow away on their way from me to you. I want to find a way to explain to you or make you feel the things that I feel at times, when I am aware of my heart inside my chest, so fine, an unmissable and precise thread from the core of me to all of my fingers. I want you to know the parts of me that make me quiet and want to be alone, that make me love autumn when the weather turns cold. It is a place I am lonely inside. I can play you a song and search your eyes and wait but it’s not for you to understand, just as I could never understand the inner universe of you. But we try, and I suppose that is more than enough.
If you deconstruct these buildings then it is possible to begin to understand. Through this window I’m watching them tear the street up, huge shards of concrete breaking off, plates colliding, mountains forming. There are roots under there. And I am shocked to be shocked. What did I expect to be under the street? This is the earth we caged, after all, roads all over, linking like chains. If the earth is pulsing, it’s too faint to feel. The roots are there unmoving, never expecting to see the sun. But here it is, a break in the chain, a temporary removal and a return to the world this used to be - all earth, seas of grass, a forest wall. I know there used to be bison here, and this was Cree land, and maybe they exist still under this city, but who can say?
It is July but it is cool and I have opened all the windows. The chilled air blows in one and out another, as though this house isn’t here at all, and I like the thought of that. It wasn’t always here, after all. Only twenty years ago there was marsh and grass here and the wind could blow freely, no obstructions, nothing to pass by.
It feels like October. The rain gentle and pitter-pattering against my window, the birds making their call from tree to tree - it is October, somewhere, if only inside of me. My heart believes it is October, my favourite month, and because of this I am happy. I am happy when the heat is gone and the air covers my skin and tells me I’m awake. It feels so clean and fresh and I am back inside my own mind where I am against trees and stone buildings. I want a slow walk in a light jacket. I don’t know everything yet. I am not settled.
Hush, little one, there is no hurry, no rush at all. Take your time. Good things will come.